Today’s scripture references Mary going to see Elizabeth.  Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb we are told.  At that point Elizabeth says words, “Blessed are you among women, and blesses is the fruit of your womb.”  In two days we will wake to celebrate this birth.  We in this home will sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Baby Jesus.  We will place him in his manger and put the blanket over him.

For years he was in the manger with no blanket.  A few years back as I was crocheting a blanket Caleb, our youngest grandchild, told me that he believed Jesus needed a blanket as well.  I made one and he put it on the baby.  Caleb was very satisfied with this effort.

So many directions I can take this post this morning.  I could go to the Virgin Mary.  This young girl is going to give birth to a baby in a few days.  Think back to what has happened to her.  She is a young girl betrothed to Joseph.  An angel comes to her and says words to the effect that you are going to be pregnant Mary and this baby is going to be the savior of the world?

As a 16 yr old girl I would have laughed at this audacity and probably run out the door to tell this tale to my friends.  Of course it was a different time.  There was reverence and respect back then and dare I say obedience.  Mary was an obedient Jewish woman.  This young girl simply said “Yes”!  Imagine it?  She said yes to following the will of God.  Do we do that today?  Could we do it?  Will I do it?  Do I walk in my faith as Mary did in hers?  Tough example to follow and indeed one to try to emulate.  The operative words there are example and try.  I think, especially in my humanity, if I try to follow Mary and her Son’s examples that I just may be on the right path.

Another direction I could go is the gift of our grandson to be so thoughtful to want a blanket for the little manger under our tree.  I think it took me three – five crochet stitches and I crochet them about ten times for the rows.  It is tiny and sparking white.  What thoughtfulness in this little boy.  I think he was 4 or 5 at the time.  Isn’t that really what we think of this time of year as we gift our friends and neighbors?  Well I agree there is Santa Claus as well.  Yet the handmade homemade thoughtful gifts are special as well.

I think that is why I still continue to make cookies for our next door neighbors.  I could give this up for sure.  It would be a time saver.  I no longer have little ones to bake with to make it a fun activity and teach them to give as well.  This year I really had a fun time with the project.  I decided to mix it up.  I did not make shaped cookies.  I made plain sugar cookies, ice box vanilla and ice box molasses, oatmeal spice and chocolate chip.  The gift also included a banana bread and some candies.  As I put them together today I had a great deal of satisfaction.  They looked lovely and I heard from my taste testers that they were indeed good.

The greatest gift of course is the baby to come Tuesday morning.  Jesus came to be one of us.  He came to give us love and hope.  After what has happened in the last weeks with the hurricane and the shootings we need both love and hope in this world.  We need to turn the bad to good.

Mary listened and turned any fear she may have had into faith.  Caleb asked me to ‘cover the baby’ turning yarn into a blanket.  I took flour, sugar, eggs and other ingredients and turned them into treats.  All gifts from the heart.  Maybe that is the best message this last Sunday before Christmas.


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